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A Musical Flavor of Kustard

Chapter Text

Hello, Hello
I'm not where I'm supposed to be
I hope that you're missing me
'Cause it makes me feel young

Red stood with his back against the wall, grin sharp on his face as his crimson eyelights stared resolute at the gang of street thugs crowding him from the front. That in and of itself wasn't unusual, since he wasn't exactly the Underground's favorite (between being the biggest supporter of his brother, who was the biggest pain in the ass for any criminals their side of the barrier besides Undyne herself, and his unfortunate compulsory volunteer work as the king's puppet Judge). What was unusual was the fact that this gang was exclusively human, and the wall at his back was brick that, were he to have the gonads to look away from his assailants, would be rising up to the bluest, most open sky he had ever seen in his 27 years of life.

The first and only sky, in fact.

He didn't know quite how he'd managed to get to the surface. It was definitely a shock. For the first who-knows-how-long, he couldn't do or think much besides stare at that beautiful blue, so different from everything he had ever know, and marvel at how beautiful it was. Surely, he could be forgiven for being distracted and not noticing the group of thugs until they were on top of him.

Red had barely dodged the (frankly stupidly potent intent-fueled) strikes that had been aimed at him for the last few minutes. The fact he was so experienced at getting jumped was likely the only reason he was still alive. He didn't know the area well enough to shortcut to anything resembling safety (or even further than where his own eyelights could see), so he was stuck not only evading attacks that would definitely kill him, but also surveying the area and looking for an escape.

He clenched his teeth. He could retaliate. He could grab them by their stupid upside down souls and bash their meaty bag bodies against the pavement until they were gooey paste. However, he still didn't know where he was, or what that kind of power would do. Would showing his hand make it easier for the humans to make a counter attack? If he managed to find a way to bring his brother and allies to the surface too, wouldn't showing aggression burn any political bridges they might have built? Papyrus would be so pissed if Red made that kind of call without talking to him.

And wasn't it just so fucking convenient that his cellphone wasn't getting any reception.

Hello, Hello
Last time that I saw your face
Was recess in second grade
And it made me feel young

Red was just cornered now. He was stuck down a dead end and the humans were closing in. He was drenched in sweat, gasping and panting for air he didn't really need. His stamina was almost entirely gone. How long had he been fighting and running now? He supposed he had a choice to make; kill or be killed. Either way, he'd be losing something.

He was just about to make his choice when a loud squeak echoed harshly off the alley walls, a rusty metal door slowly opening from the inside. Out stumbled someone in a vivid pure blue hoodie, baggy folds hanging loose on what was already a slender frame. He had a bottle of some kind of wine in one hand and his hood pulled down over his eyes.

One of his gloves was missing, and Red could see the clear, distinctive shape of the new person's phalanges, unshielded by any flesh or muscle.

The human at the head of the pack, wielding a metal bat, sneered at the newcomer. "You monsters just pop up wherever you fucking please, eh?" He took a swing at the other skeleton's head.

Red didn't have the time to react before the other skeleton was bent backwards, dodging the strike with a fluid grace that would have stolen Red's breath away had he had any left. The motion made his hood fall back off his face. The other skeleton quickly shot back up, gripping the human's arm and using it to spring-load over his head in a front flip to land on his feet between Red and the other humans. His back was to Red for the most part, but he turned his head for a moment, looking Red dead in the eye.

Most skeletons are rather similar in appearance, lacking muscle or fat or skin, but bone structure still varied between individuals. This guy, this guy had the exact same bone structure as Red did, from the pear shaped nasal aperture to the slightly oval eye sockets to the weird way his top and bottom teeth sat together. The square jaw, the round, slightly disproportionately large skull, even the depth of the shadows on the bottom ridge of his sockets were all exactly the same. The only difference was that he lacked the cracks, chips, and scars that Red had accumulated over the years, still had all his original teeth, and hadn't grown the sharper, more shark like variety from violence exposure.

It was like looking in a mirror of what ifs.

Won't you help me sober up?
Growing up it made me numb
And I want to feel something again

Won't you help me sober up?
All the big kids, they got drunk
And I want to feel something again
Won't you help me feel something again?

How's it go again?

" paps is right. i need to stop drinking..." The other skeleton said. His words were slurred together, consonants softened and vowels indistinct. Despite his grace and agility, he was still shaky on his feet.

"Why you-!!" The previously avoided bat swung, fueled by hate.

Red grabbed the other skeleton and pulled him flush to his chest, just barely getting him out of range. He felt so much smaller in Red's arms, lacking any of the extra boost in size Red's LV had managed to provide. "stay calm, i'll get'cha out o' this," Red growled in his acoustic meatus. This tiny, talented little thing, he didn't need to be scarred and broken by the same violence that Red had been.

Whatever kind of place Red had ended up, he couldn't let his cruel crimson colors tarnish it.

The other skeleton growled low. "fuck you. and your protection. i don't need your help." With that, he yeeted the bottle of wine at the human's head, cracking it open and scattering glass shards and wine all over the place. The human yelped, dropping the bat to clutch at his face.

Then the most beautiful music Red had ever heard filled the air, and the drunk stumbled out of his arms and into a dance that had him mesmerized. The little freexp wove through the crowd, dodging strikes with just as much practice and twice as much grace as Red had been. He was also taking the cheapest pot shots, using his own hand to punch the humans here or there, usually between the legs.

The humans started dropping like flies.

My favorite color is you
You're vibrating out my frequency
My favorite color is you
You keep me young, and that's how I wanna be

Before Red even knew what was happening, the only sound was that of the song still simmering in the air, and the humans were all unconscious (not dead, not a single bit of EXP to be gained) on the ground, and the other skeleton was standing over them, his blue hoodie waving slightly in the updraft that bounced between the walls, a flag of sapphire in what should have been a sea of angry scarlet. He stood there, tall, proud, for a long moment.

Then the final note petered out, and he slumped, exhausted and useless, another body to hit the floor had Red not been there to catch him.

Red never thought he would be able to look up at the sky. Now, here he was, looking down at it, a piece of freedom fallen to earth. Red shook his head at himself. He didn't have the time or luxury to ruminate on the romanticism of his first squish. He had to find a safe place for them to rest, and it sure as hell wasn't here.

Hefting the slight weight of Red's ward, he picked his way out of the alley and power walked in the opposite direction from which he'd come. Safety first, then multiverse theory bullshit, then romanticism. Priorities.

Still... Who knew Red's favorite color would turn out to be blue?

Chapter Text

Dance and Red were sitting at the bar, sharing a wine bottle. For once, it was just casual, social drinking, not the competitive, aggressive tit for tat they had started their relationship over. They'd never been in this particular bar before, and they were mostly there to just- relax, pass the time, and maybe enjoy each other's company along with the music.

So far it had been pretty good. Red was more than satisfied with the food and the drink, and the bar-stools were padded well, which was a plus.

He could tell from Dance's expression that he was less than impressed. The worst scowl had fell on his face when the latest song, something called 'Mia Khalifa', had started to play.

"wuzzup kitten?" Red asked, leaning in closer to tilt Dance's head up.

Dance huffed. "this place is a joke. the foods fine but their taste in music is shit."

"oh?" Red smirked, leaning in to steal a kiss, gentle, soft, chaste, nothing particularly special besides its intended meaning. "ready t' pay th' tab n run?"

"yeah-" Dance started, just as they both heard a gasp from the dance floor.

"Oh my god, those monsters are kissing!" One girl hissed to one of her friends.

"Aren't they both guys? Ew."

"They're skeletons, they don't even have lips-"

Before Red could get a hold of him, Dance was off the stool and in front of those girls. A female vocalist took over in the song, and Dance started on some hard hiphop moves, improvising in some places but clearly following some kind of choreography in others.

Hit of Miss
I guess they never miss, huh?
You got a boyfriend, I bet he doesn't kiss ya!
He gon' find another girl and he won't miss ya-!
He gon' skrrt and hit the dab like Wiz Khalifa-!

Dance came to a stop, looking over the girl who had spoken first. "you're over here dancing to a diss track about a girl who did her damnedest to make a living for herself, and was emotionally brutalized for it. you already have either ignorance or misogyny on your list of reasons no one worth kissing is ever gonna kiss you, how nice of you to add racism and homophobia to your public resume." He spun on his heels. "red. we're going home."

Red got up, quick to join Dance's side. He flipped those humans the bird and kissed Dance a second time as they left. He loved his fighty little kitten.

Chapter Text

Red checked his phone again, anxiety rumbling through his soul as he waited. Dance was late, which wasn't entirely unusual (his kitten was a little scatterbrained in certain aspects of life), but it didn't make Red feel any better. He couldn't help thinking of all the ways today could go wrong.

A hand alighted on Red's shoulder, and he looked up into the cracked, yet reassuring face of his father figure.

Fellster wasn't the most emotive, preferring to keep a calm, unruffled expression whenever possible, but at the moment he did his damnedest to smile kindly. "Allowing yourself to dwell in anxiety will not be beneficial to anyone, least of all your romantic partner."

Red nodded. "I know..." They had agreed to start introducing their family to each other. Showing off their siblings had been easy. When Red had mentioned his old man, however, Dance had shut down for nearly a month. It was a miracle that the two of them had managed to talk their way to this dinner at all. "but-"

The bell at the front of the restaurant chimed, announcing a new patron, and in walked Dance (shoulders hunched and grin tight in his iconic petulance), followed by a taller figure that, based on his conversations with Dance prior to today, Red had not expected to see.

Dance sat down hard next to Red, giving him a look, a look which said 'this is all your fault' more clearly and viscerally than words ever could.

"so, uh, ya guess this is yer ol' man?" Red tried uselessly.


Fellster stood up, offering his hand. "You must be my son's mate's parental unit. I have become partial to the name Vivek, which we may use to avoid confusion. And you?"

Dancester paused, looking at first the hand, then Fellster's face, with unfiltered confusion, before taking hold of it to shake. "I did not think of one, being fresh from the void. Perhaps something like Zimri? Or Stanza."

"how about bar, since ya can't get any lower..." dance muttered. Red snorted.

"Hush, S4, people are talking." Dancester said crisply, lacking any of the ease he used with Fellster.

Red gripped Dance's leg under the table, bristling. How. Fucking. Dare. No wonder Dance hadn't wanted to bring his dad to the meeting. Whatever relationship he had, it was vastly different than the one Red had with his father.

The subtle changes in the micro-expressions on Fellster's face told Red that he was having the same general thought process. "I see... Well. Shall we sit?"

Dancester nodded, taking a seat across from Fellster, next to Dance.

Red tapped out a message in morse code on Dance's knee, hoping that maybe his boyfriend would know it: [why is he here]

Dance's hand slid down, and instead of tapping out an answer, he threaded his fingers with Red's, squeezing.

"So. Tell me about yourself, Dance, was it?" Fellster started, turning his attention to Dance. Dance's grip on Red's hand tightened, and his hesitance in answering spoke volumes.

"It is a malfunctioning specimen, if I am to be completely honest," Dancester said dismissively with a wave of his hand. "It performs excellently as a repair unit, but does not parse commands well. What about your unit?"

"I'm sorry, my what?" Fellster had to ask. He surely had heard wrong.

Dancester gestured at Red. "Your S-Unit. It seems to be better behaved. What did you use to condition its behavior?"

Fellster took a deep breath. "I believe you are working under false logic. Sans- Red. Is my son. Not my experiment."

Red felt Dance elbow him. He looked down at his boyfriend, and only realized after getting that familiar glare that he had been growling. Red deflated a little, leaning in to steal a nuzzle and a kiss. Dance gave it, relaxing as he leaned into Red more, taking comfort in Red's proximity, his touch. It made Red's soul flutter.

"Your son?" Dancester looked at the couple, raising a brow ridge. Dance seemed to sense the attention, turned to face Dancester sharply and practically hissed like a wet cat.

Red felt the need to wrap his arms around Dance just to hold him back.

"How... Unusual. You have repurposed it to act as a companion unit? I suppose it is better than letting it gather dust in the corner, and other units of its type function well in the same field..." Dancester scratched his chin. "I suppose it is no trouble, although I would appreciate you not rewriting its technical specs. It is still a decent repair bot."

"I think I have heard enough." Fellster said in that low tone Red knew meant someone was going to have their whole life ruined.

Red grinned, relaxing his hold enough to let his hand slide down to Dance's hips, kneading thoughtfully at the crests of his ilium through his clothes. Red felt more than saw how Dance shivered from the attention, letting out a pleased rumble when he felt Dance's negligible weight settle against him completely.

"You are one of the most toxic and unfit parental units I have ever had the displeasure of being subjected to the presence of," Fellster began. "And worse yet, you are the single most unobservant and stupid scientists."

"How dare you-" Dancester bristled at the latter assessment.

"You ruined a perfectly good child! Look at him," Fellster gestured at Dance one handed, "He's got anxiety!"

Dance started snickering at the flabbergasted expression on his father's face. Red, thinking that look suited him, pressed his teeth approvingly to the side of Dance's skull. The contact changed his kitten's expression to one of shock, and then blushing embarrassment, which Red found equally appealing.

Taking Dance's hand, he nudged him gently to move, and guided him out of the restaurant. Red was certain his dad could handle ripping that asshole a new one. Red, however, had a kitten to pet, and murmur sweetly to, and remind that he was loved and treasured and adored no matter what someone too big for his binkie had to say.

The fact Dance trusted Red enough to follow him, even without a plan in advance, spoke volumes, and made Red feel like the luckiest guy in the world.